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By Okon Bassey in Uyo
The Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, has reaffirmed his commitment to pay the new minimum wage of N30,000 as approved by the federal government and other allowances to the state workforce.
This, he said, was in line with the support he got from the state civil servants during his campaign for a second term in office.
Speaking during the Workers’ Day celebration at the Uyo Township Stadium Wednesday, he said: “I want to assure you that having been the first state government to set up a committee to review and observe the new minimum wage, we will implement the new minimum wage as signed by Mr. President.
“I stand here to tell the two leaders, the NLC and TUC that their demand in the area of welfare of workers I concur. We will deny ourselves of every comfort to ensure every retired worker in this state is taken care of. We must uphold that social contract of being up to date in our monthly pension payment.
“I want to say here that it is only gratuity that we are not up to date and people should know the difference between pension and gratuity.
“Because of the problems that usually lead to the delay in the payment of pension and gratuity government has automated that section so that as you complete documentation your name will drop in the payment schedule.
“I urged you to continue to support policies that are people-driven that would benefit the common man and to ensure an egalitarian society. Do not fall into the hands of mischief makers whose aim is that of spreading propaganda to destroy our good intention.”
Meanwhile, while the governor was addressing the workers, overzealous policemen manhandled an official of the state Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).
The armed policemen were said to have brutalised the NLC official simply identified as Mr Essien, Secretary of the Youth Wing of the NLC, in an attempt to control the crowd.
The victim, whose face was swollen and had blood oozing from his head, was further dragged to the police security van for detention and further punishment.
The incident caused commotion at the main entrance to the stadium as his colleagues who witnessed the assault protested and prevented the security van from leaving the stadium.
While efforts were made to draw the governor’s attention to the development, some of the officials of the sister unions intervened and the victim was rushed to the Government House Clinic for treatment.